2020 is Donald Trump’s
The U.S. presidency has been plagued by a series of adversities this year
By Byron Toben
Back in 1992, Queen Elizabeth referred to that year as her annus horribilis, what with a fire destroying 100 rooms at Windsor Castle and various semi-scandals (Fergie’s toe sucking, etc.)
Those events pale in comparison to what U.S. President Donald J. Trump has experienced so far in 2020. The culmination is the publication of John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened.
But first, a brief list of other Trump expose books leading up to this one. There are 14 negative accounts vs. 6 favourable ones. Here is a list of the negative:
Not a book, but an article in The New Yorker where Tony Schwartz, credited as a ghostwriter for Trump on the 1987 The Art of The Deal claims he wrote most of it, now regrets it and presages the failings that are documented in the books below:
Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff
Media Madness by Howard Kurtz
Trumpocracy by David Frum
It’s Even Worse Than You Think by David Johnston
The Trump White House by Ronald Kessler
Under Fire by April Ryan
Fear by Bob Woodward
Team of Vipers by Cliff Sims
Kushner, Inc. by Vicky Ward
A Warning by Anonymous
A Very Stable Genius by Phillip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
Trumpapocalypse by David Frum
The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton
Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump (to be released later this year)
Further contributing to Trump’s annus horribilis were developments with Never Trump Republicans, the Military, the Judiciary, the explosion of Black Lives Matter and, sadly, himself.
Never Trump Republicans
In 2020, a group of prominent life long Republicans – George Conway, Steven Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson – formed The Lincoln Project. Besides endorsing Democrat nominee Joe Biden, they have posted several biting videos – Unfit, Mourning in America and Flag of Treason – and sponsored a podcast Republicans defeating Donald Trump.
Other such Republicans have since then joined them – Jennifer Horn, Ron Steslow, Stuart Stevens, Reed Galen and Mike Madrid.
Deemed RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) by Trump, they have seemingly inspired Democratic publicists to also play harder.
In 2017, Trump called an assembled gathering of top Generals “losers, dopes and babies”. In recent weeks, high-ranking military officers have publicly criticized his leadership. They are: General James Mattis, ex. Secretary of defence; Admiral Mark Mullen, ex. Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Colin Powell, ex. Secretary of State.
Also, General Mark Milley (chair of Joint Chiefs) and Mark Esper (Secretary of Defence) have both apologized for participating in sending troops into the street in Washington to disperse peaceful protesters for a church photo op.
Remember, Senator Joe McCarthy’s excessive red-baiting rise to power turned in 1954 when he started attacking the army.
Despite Trump’s packing the Supreme Court with conservative-leaning judges, it voted this week in favour of gay rights and against sending DACA youth away.
Black Lives Matter
The sad “murder” of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Policeman, caught on video by a 17- year-old girl, ignited mass protests in every state of the union as well as most major cities around the world, including Canada. Although there have been similar events throughout the decades, none caught the public imagination so much as this one, reminding us of Victor Hugo’s maxim, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” (Hugo was the author of both Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
… the use of unidentified black-clad enforcers to use clubs, tear gas and helicopter backwash to disperse peaceful protesters on a public street so Trump could use a church lawn to say… nothing, just a photo op with an upside-down Bible, may be the ‘tipping point’ for many independent voters.
New Technology has aided presidents: Radio for Franklin Delano Roosevelt; TV for John Fitzgerald Kennedy; Internet for Barack Obama and Twitter for Donald Trump.
Even the unceasing torrent of twittering by Trump, the use of childish nicknames for others and refusal to admit the slightest mistake gave proof to circus promoter P. T. Barnum’s adage, “There is no such thing as bad publicity”.
However, the use of unidentified black-clad enforcers to use clubs, tear gas and helicopter backwash to disperse peaceful protesters on a public street so Trump could use a church lawn to say… nothing, just a photo op with an upside-down Bible, may be the “tipping point” for many independent voters.
Feature image: President Trump visits St. John’s Episcopal Church – The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.